5 Strategies for Living with Your Parents After Campus Closures
- Be Considerate
- Create Your Own Space
- Get Out of the House
- Have Fun Together
If your university has shut down in response to COVID-19, you’re probably faced with an unexpected challenge: finding ways to survive living with your parents again now that your campus is closed. The sudden transition from independent college life can be a shock for everyone. By finding ways to respect their values and maintain your own boundaries, you can survive the shift with minimal friction.
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1. Be Considerate
The most important survival tip for living with your parents now that your campus is closed? Be considerate. This starts with cleanliness — clean up after yourself, don’t leave piles of dirty dishes in the sink, and make an effort to help your parents maintain the house. Then, think of ways that you can contribute. Make dinner a couple of nights a week, for example, or take care of an outdoor job without being asked. Taking responsibility helps your parents see you as an adult, which in turn makes it easier for them to treat you as such.
2. Create Your Own Space
In the age of social distancing, you and your family are probably spending a lot of time around each other. This constant togetherness can lead to arguments and frustrations that wouldn’t happen otherwise. That’s why it’s helpful to have your own space — instead of working on homework and online classes in the living room, consider setting up a desk in your bedroom. Let everyone know that you need to study to prevent distractions. Setting up a quiet place to escape is one of the most useful survival strategies for living at home again; it helps head off friction before it can become a problem.
3. Get Out of the House
Being stuck inside for days on end can have an impact on your stress levels and mental health. To boost your mood, it’s helpful to get outside. According to UChealth, it’s safe to go outdoors as long as you stay at least 6 feet away from other people. You might take the dog on a walk around the neighborhood, go for a run, or take your siblings out for a bike ride. The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for your well-being, which will then have ripple effects throughout your family. Plus, getting exercise is a great way to stay healthy and strong. Be sure to check local regulations for COVID-19 first to make sure that there are no lockdowns or other restrictions before heading outside.
After spending a semester or more at college, you’re probably used to an independent lifestyle that’s free of parent-imposed rules. When you move home, you might chafe at the old restrictions. That’s why open communication is key to surviving moving back in with your parents. By talking about problems early and honestly, it’s easier to avoid big arguments down the road. Keep it honest and respectful, but don’t be afraid to set boundaries. You might request that family members knock before coming into your room, or that they leave you in peace during online classes. In return, plan to offer the same courtesy to siblings and parents.
5. Have Fun Together
Although it can be difficult to be back under your parents’ roof, it’s also a great opportunity to spend time with the family. To relieve some of the stress of virus-induced isolation, try planning fun activities. Have a movie night with popcorn and snacks, spend an afternoon video-calling family and friends, or encourage the whole family to play a game. It’s also a good time to be productive; you might all work on remodeling the basement or get the garden ready for planting. In the process, everyone can step away from the news and make memories.
If you’ve found yourself back at your parents’ after a COVID-19 shutdown, it’s safe to expect some bumps in the road. When you adopt a proactive approach for a smoother transition, it’s easier surviving living at home now that colleges are closed.